Envisat concludes a busy second year in orbit

of the Earth system. Delivered rapidly to end users, these measurements serve as the basis for a variety of near-real time services.

The swiftest changes of all occur in the atmosphere, but data from Envisat enables regularly updated mapping of the concentration of otherwise invisible trace chemicals in the air. These maps are available to users worldwide over the internet.

As part of the Netherlands-hosted Tropospheric Emission Monitoring Internet Service (TEMIS) Envisat's German-backed SCIAMACHY (SCanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography) sensor routinely supplies data for a daily map of global ozone thickness. Because stratospheric ozone blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation, a four-day ultraviolet radiation forecast can in turn be derived from these results.

The website of the Florence-based Institute for Applied Physics (IFAC) enables researchers to browse atmospheric maps derived from near-real time MIPAS Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) results. Users can specify the time, chemical species and atmospheric altitude they wish to see.

"The site enables us to visualise our analysis of MIPAS data in different ways as needed," explains Bruno Carli of IFAC. "It started as an internal tool for our monitoring work as part of the quality working group for MIPAS level 2 data, but it is now accessible to everyone."

Another near real website service called Belgian Assimilation System of Chemical Observations from Envisat (BASCOE) assimilates MIPAS data as well, forecasting the chemical concentration of ozone as well as 56 other chemical species.

Watching ocean waters

Envisat instruments also monitor the ever-changing features of the ocean surface. These observations that help to make other near real time services possible, including a French system called Mercator Ocean that provides analysis and forecasts of ocean circulation around Europe for

Contact: Henri Laur
European Space Agency

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